R10 billion is needed to give sport in South Africa a much needed boost to enable it to become one of the global sporting powerhouses, South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) president, Gideon Sam, announced on Tuesday.
Sam was speaking at the announcement that airline, South African Airways (SAA) will be the sponsored carrier of South Africa’s sportsmen and sportswomen in a three year deal that was signed by both SAA and SASCOC. The agreement stipulates that SAA will provide air tickets to South African sports teams to various multi-coded sports events for the 2014-2016 period, ending at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic and Paralympic games. The announcement came just the day before the South African team is due to leave for the 2014 Commonwealth games, which are to be hosted in Glasgow, Scotland.
Speaking at the signing, Gideon Sam said, “It took us time to put a plan together as a ministry and as the sports movement. We have costed that plan and we know exactly how much it will cost to make South Africa a powerhouse in sport. All we are waiting for is for government to come to the party; to sign on the dotted line and to say, ‘here is your money, live out your dreams’.”
The plan announced is scheduled to occur over a five-year period. The plan will include the upgrade of many South African facilities to a world-class level and development of sports in South Africa from the youth level upwards. SASCOC explained that they understand that there may be various socio-economic issues affecting the country, but that infrastructural development is also needed. “Those priorities will always be there, but as a sports movement, together with the ministry, we want our cut,” Sam said.
It was explained that the R10 billion was needed in order to implement the National Sports Development Plan, which was drawn up in 2011.
“We are asking that amount because we understand that if we are going to get the youth of this country to come to its right, we need to give them these services,” stated Sam at the press conference.